The breast self-examination consists on a monthly exploration of the breast and armpits allowing women to know better the feautures of their breast, which helps to detect any change.
With this easy technic women take an active role in the early detection of breast cancer because the discoveries of the self-examination can give important information to your doctor.
The main purpose of the breast self-examination is to inform your doctor specialized in mammary pathology of any change.
The breast self-examination cannot replace the medical criteria neither the mammograms.
WHO NEEDS TO PERFORM IT?
Every woman from 20 years should perform it monthly, including pregnant women, during breast feeding, with menopause and with mammary replacement.
WHEN SHOULD IT BE PERFORMED?
In the first days during the cycle, ideally during the days 7-10 after finisinh the menstruation.
In women without cycle (pregnant, menopause or ocasionally durins breast feading) the self-examination should be performed the same day of every month.
TO WHAT DISCOVERIES SHOULD YOU PAY ATTENTION?
It is highly recommended to visit a doctor specialized in breast pathology if any of the followings appear:
- Any new mammary nodule.
- Enlargement of the previous nodule.
- Inflammation/Redness of the breast skin.
- Skin retractions or in the nipple.
- Breast pain (incommensurate from the usually menstruation pain).
- Peeling of the skin of the breast or nipple
- Discharge of liquid from the nipple.
In a high percentage of cases the discovering of any of the above will not be related to breast cancer, but they are alarm signals to whom you should visit your doctor for an adequate diagnosis.
BREAST CANCER PREVENTION
Breast cancer is the most frequent kind of malignant tumor in women worldwide with approximately one and a half million of new diagnosed cases every year around the world.
Cancer incidence is increasing globally, mainly due to the ageing population, improvement of the early detection methods, as well as the consciousness-raising of women about examine regularly their breast (which is an important tool to early breast cancer detection)
Currently the probability of developing a breast cancer is one from 8 women along their lives. Most of them are diagnosed in a range of ages from 45 to 65 years old, although there are breast cancer cases in all ages
The early detection of breast cancer has increased significantly the recovery probabilities of this disease (almost 100% of some kind of tumors), allowing to perform in most of the cases the breast-conserving surgery, with very favorable esthetic results without implicating with that the recovery possibility. The early detection of breast cancer consists on a combination of mammograms, clinic exploration carried out by an specialist or self breast examination.
- Sex: it occurs mainly in women. It can also affect men although the probability is lower.
- Age: 60% of breast cancers occur in women over 60 years and the remaining 40% in younger women.
- Genes: There are two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, which can cause the onset of breast cancer when they mutate.
- Family history: if a first-degree relative (mother, sister or daughter) has had breast cancer, the risk of suffering is double. If a more distant relative (grandmother, aunt or cousin), the risk increases only slightly.
- Periods: the sooner start menstruation (before age 12), the greater the risk of breast cancer comparing with those who started later. Women with late menopause (after age 55) are at greater risk.
- Lifestyle: alcohol abuse, smoking, obesity, etc increase the risk of breast cancer.